Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Today's Treasures ...

Thrift store shopping … Four books:

Raine: The Vision Splendid, 1913 with the D. C. Hutchinson illustrations. [William McLeod Raine is a mostly overlooked writer of western adventures.]

Williamson: Hunky, 1929, first edition. Nice.

Cobb: Back Home, reprint edition by Review of Reviews. [If you’ve never read an Irvin S. Cobb book, you’ve missed out.]

Maguire: Mirror, Mirror … just for fun.

Nothing rare, just fun.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Evergreen Highway 1950's

The dams have changed this scene, but much is still the same

Old Columbia River Highway Then and Now

Oneonta Gorge: Today and in 1935

At Rowena, Oregon.

Now U. S. 30, the original Columbia River Highway. The "loops" at Rowena, Oregon. Still there and they will still make you dizzy!

Columbia River Highway - About 1925

Shepperd's Dell Bridge and Volcanic Domes - Looking Eastward

Find them, execute them on the street like the Dogs they are ...

From the Pakistan, International News

Tuesday, June 22, 2010By By our correspondent

Minority representatives have expressed deep concern over the rising number of violent attacks like the recent incident of a six-year-old Christian girl who was brutally assaulted on Friday by unidentified men in Kotri which has sparked outrage among the community.Minority Alliance Sindh Secretary General Michael Javed, talking to The News, demanded that the government should take immediate notice of the incident and catch the criminals. “The girl is in a critical condition and is not being given proper treatment. We request the authorities to pay heed to this issue and save the life of the minor girl”.A minority rights advocate, Elvis Stephen, said that when it comes to minority issues, the authorities look the other way and ignore their plight. “It is high time that we are given our rights and our problems are highlighted the way the issues of other communities are raised.

Rage against the waves ...

I am frustrated. My life seems so disorganized lately. I can’t plan anything without the expectation that the plans will go askew. I’ll have to stagger off to bed and sleep away large portions of my life. It seems very unfair, though it probably should not be measured in the context of fairness.

I need help making a “last resort” book. I need to write down all sorts of instructions and guides to how things work, what things are, and what to do with them. I know K. Knees does not see the same worth in some of these things that I do. While we share many interests, even most interests, he’s only mildly interested in my research library. I don’t want it to go into a yard or estate sale.

I need to catalogue it and include a description of what it is and what it’s probable worth is. I need to tell my family how to dispose of it, if they don’t want it for themselves. I wish one of my children would carry on my work, but none of them are the least bit inclined. Only one of them is mildly impressed that I write.

I considered gifting a library with this collection. I talked to the archivist at a religious institution. It became apparent that they would not treat the collection with any sort of respect, even though much of it is relevant to their history. Also, they do not cooperate. We seek material from them; the answer is an automatic, “no.” It’s not just us they refuse to help, it’s anyone. So it won’t go there. I talked to two universities, both of whom maintain specialized collections of this material. I’m not happy with either.

I tend to measure these organizations against how they respond to our research needs. They get at best a C – and at worst an F. None of this collection will go to them. I’d rather write a detailed inventory and have my family sell it piece by piece on ebay.

All my files, photocopies, research notes? I haven’t a clue. I think they should ebay these by the binder full. I just don’t know.

I like pretty glass. Our house is a mini-museum in some respects. No one cares about this stuff but me, but if my family wants to dispose of it, they should at least know what it is and what it’s worth. It would be silly just to yard sale it.

I’m watching the estate sale of an arrowhead collection from N. California. How sad that is. The woman is in a nursing home. They’re selling her stuff. She’ll never see it again, and apparently she is in no condition to care.

I suppose it doesn’t matter, but I feel as if the pieces of life that kept me stable through trials are about to just go away. If they must go away, I want them to go in an organized manner.

I think we’re selling the goats this year. It’s not quite like selling your family … but close enough. I’m pairing off things now. It’s better than having someone else do it later, and it will leave our life a bit more organized.

This sounds as if I’ll die tomorrow. I won’t. But I’ve declined a lot in the last two years, and that won’t stop. There are days when I hate the world. I’ve grown very impatient with people. I feel ignored by people who once were my friends. I cared about that for a long time. I care much less about it now.

I’ve withdrawn into my family. My family matters, I’m not sure many others do anymore.

My room is a mess. My digital camera gave up the ghost. My nose runs from allergies. I have trash to take out and don’t want to leave the house. I’m a mess today.

I’m not writing today – exactly. I have a chapter to revise, but the writing is done. I just have to type in the hand written revisions and new footnotes.

I wish I had more blog readers. But I know this isn’t a very interesting blog. It was better in its first permutation. I took all of that down when I got sick. I should have left it up, I suppose. I had lots of readers then. It was fun, and then I crashed. Life sucks lemons.

Our research has changed the way I think of religion. Sometimes I’d like to abandon this project. It’s stressful in odd ways. I’m always surprised when one of these people we research stirs some emotion in me. There have been two cases of that the last few weeks. One of these characters was a Church of God (Baptist oriented sect, very small) clergy man who went insane. He led such a disreputable life. Just nasty. But his church accepted him until his death, giving him high office. I read through newspaper articles from the 1880’s and 1890’s and found myself repelled by a man dead for over a century. Another was a man named J. V. Coombs. Coombs was a Disciples minister who wrote at least one anti-sect book. (Stupid book, I read it.) He disrupted the meeting of another sect, entering the hall in Washington, D. C., where the meeting was held and trying to ascend the stage and take over the meeting. He was expelled by the police and reveled in all the publicity. This happened almost 100 years ago. I shouldn’t care, should I? I should just document it and feel … nothing … but curiosity. I was repelled, angry.

Partly this stems from the emotional waves that come with my illness. I know this, and it tempers what I write when I actually do tell the story. Their actions, told without a great burst of emotion, tell as much about these men as any ranting on my part would. I can tell you, though, that events of 100 years or more ago do matter. They come back to haunt the organizations with which those people associated, usually as unreliable gossip or myth.

I’m about setting the record straight and telling the story fully. This has not won us very many friends.

I’ve complained for paragraphs about how miserable I am, and my writing partner suffers from all the things old age brings and the same inherited health problems that plague me. I sometimes wonder how he stays so calm. Maybe it’s just a “man thing.” I feel like raging, though I never would.

Monday, June 28, 2010

St. Helens, Oregon - About 1905

County Courthouse Construction in Background. All finished but the roof.

On the Columbia River.


Shirley, my thrift-store shopping buddy, came by and nabbed me for an hour of Goodwill store prowling. I almost begged off. I feel icky today. But I went. I’m glad I did.

Last year I found on an ephemera auction list a pile of cheap newsprint articles listed as “clippings from a magazine.” But that’s not what they are. During World War 2 the Canadian government, influenced by the Minister of Justice’s clergy, banned a religious organization, claiming it undermined the war effort. This was “take two” on that. They’d done the same during World War 1. The claim was nonsense. It was pure religious persecution.

This pile of “clippings from a magazine” is in reality the illegal printing of the main articles from their main religious periodical. They are very rare, very fragile.

I needed good archival storage for this material. It’s ¾ tabloid size, too large for a normal archival sleeve. I’ve shopped around and couldn’t find anything at a reasonable price. Most archival books the right size are thirty dollars or more.

I found three of these archival books in the Goodwill for two dollars and fifty cents each. There are just enough pages to hold this material.

This is an exceptionally rare archive. I miss ten issues out of thirty-five ever printed. As far as I know, it’s the most complete collection of these anywhere.

I also bought two books. Nothing special, just things to read.


Intrusion of Reality

To Do List:

1. Dance naked on Pixie Rock.
2. Seduce Knobby Knees.

3. Empty boxes.

So many boxes … so little time …

Did you know that “O” as in “O Lord” is an interjection?

Anyway … So … have you ever bid on one of those unclaimed storage lots? Me either - until two months ago. What caught my eye was the description of Lot Number 6 (Shades of Stephen King novels!): “Household goods. Appears to be chiefly books” Books! I like books.

The thing is, they don’t let you look before you bid. You get to look through the door, but you’re budding blindly because you can’t open boxes. I looked thorough the open door, counted boxes I could see and estimated the number underneath, divided by the number of the day of the week on which I was born, added six, subtracted the combined age of my children, added Knobby Knees’ shoe size and bid $25.00 for no apparent reason. I didn’t win … except I did.

Three others out bid me. None of them paid for the lot. So it became mine to K.K’s consternation.

“Lass, where are we going to put all this stuff?” he asked. Ever really see a dour Scott?

“In the barn,” I say sweetly.

So we loaded it all up. (It took three trips) I should qualify that. We didn’t load it all up. There was an old chest freezer in there. It was of no earthly use, appeared to be broken and was too heavy to lift. I made sure there was no body in it (One never knows. I’ve heard stories, you know.) and called the used appliance place. They took it and a rickety looking apartment sized gas oven.

Now all this happened just as my always precarious health was going south. (Isn’t it nice that we can send bad things off to sunny climes?) So, not much got sorted. It all sat in the barn glowering at me.

This morning I made it my project. I went straight out there after work. It’s kinda creepy out there at 4 am but we pixies thrive on creepiness. Besides, I figured I’d get more done then than I would with little hands trying to help.

The first several boxes were agony and romance novels from the 1960’s and 70’s. This is all Goodwill Store material. I can’t get credit for them at the bookstore. They can’t sell this stuff. I muscle these boxes aside, scribbling “GW” on each.

The next box was interesting. There were no books, but there were photos and personal items. This made me sad. All these photos are now disconnected from the family and reality that brought them birth. They covered a span of over forty years. Written in silver ink on a black album page is “San Diego, 1932. At Mary’s.” And date stamped on the last photos is 1972. That’s exactly forty years, but some few seem newer and at least one must predate 1932.

Most are of the same couple. There’s a name. I’ve traced it. They’re both dead, apparently with no living family. By default, I’ve become their heir.

There are 8 mm film containers in this box. I don’t have a projector, but I held the film up to the light. What little I saw seems to be of forgotten vacations, and one is of someone golfing.

There are loose photos. Some are snapshots and some studio portraits. One is of a young man in Army Ranger uniform. He was their son. He died in 1972. An obituary is tucked behind the photo.

The woman wasn’t very pretty, but she smiles out from the photos in such a natural way that I think she must have been fun, pleasant. In a few of them she’s wearing those slightly poofy shorts women wore in the 1930’s. One of her photos reminds me of a 1940’s painting, scandalous in its day, called “Sailors and Floozies.”

I set that box aside as “probably keep.” It seems sinful to discard what remains of their life.

There were some boxes of clothes. They go into the donation pile. I find an old purse with silver dimes folded into an old sock. These will probably more than repay my twenty-five dollar investment.

I find two sets of worthless 1950’s encyclopedias. Trash. They’re not even useful to the thrift store.

I finally find useful books. There’re three boxes of 1950’s SF with lurid covers. These I’ll keep.

A box of miscellaneous kitchen ware is next. My aunt loves old kitchen things. I’ll keep one brown crockery bowl. She can sort through the rest and donate or yard sale what she doesn’t want. Some of this is quite old. There’s a cheese grater marked Arbuckle’s Coffee. She’ll love that.

More books. Some mysteries. Nothing special. Hardbacks minus their dust jackets. Goodwill Store … Except … one S. S. van Deine novel, The Bishop Murder Case. I’ll keep that. Then more of the same. Some books on wood working and concrete construction. Goodwill bound.

A box of personal things. Report cards. Bits of memories. Sad things now. His discharge papers. A Pacific Theater and other medals. Some long brown hair wrapped in a newspaper dated 1947. I won’t keep that. It would be like keeping a dead body. It’s icky.

I can’t keep all this material. Maybe I’ll take it to the ephemera dealer at the largest antique mall. She sells things like this. If it could find a nice home, I’d feel less guilty than I would simply trashing it.

More books follow, out of which I find five, maybe six, to keep. I wonder who read what? Which of them liked the mysteries and which the science fiction?

More clothes. Many old ties. Guady things squished or ironed flat ages ago.

Then dark things. Suddenly I’m glad I’ve elected to do this in the early morning before children hover.

A box of 1950’s porn. Tame by today’s standards, even a bit funny. The women are rounded, even plump. People collect this stuff, though I do not know why. An evening on Fourth Avenue and you can see living specimens of the same.

There is a very large box of what my mom called “dirty books.” Someone invested a lot of money reading about things they were probably too timid to experience. The cover art is amateurish, nasty. Novels on cheap paper tell stories of doggies on the beach and adventures in the barn yard and of bondage and abuse. This all seems to be from the 1970’s.

I am simultaneously curious and repelled. I stare at a cover illustration, puzzling over the skewed physics of a girl with her arms tied behind her back, a rope strung over a branch and an insane man pulling on the rope. She’s straddled a rough wooden fence. That’s got to hurt, but none of this would work as drawn. The physics are wrong.

There are two more boxes (very large boxes) of similar material, and one of photo magazines. Raw stuff.

The picture of this family that I had constructed now seems doubtful.

There are some book-sellers who live under the rocks. They purvey vintage porn, some of the worst you can imagine. I met a few of these when I had my book store. One of them runs an otherwise respectable used and antiquarian bookstore in Oregon. He sells this stuff quietly. He used to have a web page that didn’t connect to his bricks-and-mortar store. I don’t know if he still has it, and I’m not going looking to see.

He visited my store a time or two, looking for things to buy. Without the slightest hesitation he told me exactly what he wanted. I didn’t sell it, never kept it if it came in a lot of things I bought, and found the whole conversation distasteful. But I could sell all this stuff to him. He sells vintage “OH! Doggie!” and “Happy Pony” books for prices approaching one hundred dollars each. The money is tempting; we do need it. But I just can’t do that. This stuff will have a much different fate.

I open two more boxes. They’re a mixture of old shoes, purses (no money except a few pennies) and just junk. But I can’t shake the sense of disillusionment. I’d built a mythology based on their photos – they seemed so happy and wholesome – and it’s just crumbled under reality.

I’ll return to this later, though I don’t know when. In the mean time, I’ll seek a county burn permit. That probably won’t happen until fall. Too much wind and heat until then.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Eagle Creek Bridge - About 1930

Columbia River Highway - as it was.

Cupid or Pixie ...

Okay, Okay ... stop looking at the woman. You've all seen naked women before ... Notice the cupid (or maybe it's a pixie). The cupid is smoke, essence, half materialized and half not. Such an interesting concept, no? ... I told you ... focus on the cupid, not the woman. Silly!
Artist is Etienne Albert Eugène Joannon

Lori ... Guest Post

Rachael (aka Sha’el) asked me to write about ‘The Trials and Tribulations of a Writer’.

The moment I read that phrase my cross-eyed brain (from working ceaselessly on the third draft of my manuscript) went to that wonderful episode of the original Star Trek series, ‘The Trouble with Tribbles’ and of course the equally wonderful episode on Deep Space Nine that featured the perils of time travel and Tribbles... but I digress, and that is my most trying tribble-lation as a writer; digression.

Digression is what caused me to pause in the middle of my re-write and construct a detailed outline for a story that began as nothing more than a glimmer of a thought. It now currently stands seventh in line to be written, and given my luck, second chronologically in the series.

Now that I think about it, this is the up side of digressing; if handled with care, and being mindful that it’s a digression, not the main event.... The down side is wasted time, the most precious asset any writer has. Although taking care of the rest of one’s life cannot be classified as a digression or wasted time, even if it sometimes feels as though it is.

So, that’s the tribulation side of things, which then brings me to, not necessarily the ‘trials’ but ‘challenges’ of writing and the afore mentioned Work In Progress.

When I first decided that I wanted to be a writer rather than write in my spare time, one of the first pieces of advice I took to heart was ‘Write what you know’. Which is not only just about life experience but thorough research as well. This has stood me in good stead whenever I feel as though I’ve lost my way or been ambushed by my characters or a plot snafu.

I know Science Fiction and Fantasy. I’ve read it for most of my life, certainly since I was about fifteen and skipped a science class to read Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke in the school library. And I know lesbians, having been one all my life. I’ve read and written about them my whole adult life, certainly since I skipped a Phys-Ed class (some years after reading Asimov) to read Radcliffe Hall and Ann Bannon in the public library. Radcliffe and Ann weren’t the most uplifting of writers but that’s all we had in a small town. I’ve often wondered though, about the librarian who invested in those titles.

It’s a challenge creating characters that are representative of so obviously a marginalised and vilified people in most parts of the world. Thankfully here in Canada we are one of the growing number of countries who are more on the exception side of that rule.

Being lesbians my characters have a fundamental set of backstory challenges to overcome even before they start their adventures. This is true of many minority based characters in a world where the norm is assumed to be white, heterosexual and male, but perhaps because of the niche market that gay and lesbian characters in fiction appeal to they present a different (not necessarily unique) set of challenges for the writer. There are certain expectations that a lesbian story needs to fulfil in order for it to sell to a wider readership than the authors family and friends.

The SF/F genre allows me to place my characters outside the rigid structures imposed here on Earth in this reality. In those other worlds, times, and dimensions, they are able to evolve through course of the story without necessarily being gay or lesbian first. Of course, that rigidity can be carried through the story anyway, where we all know they’re gay and wait for the other shoe to drop. (homophobia in some form or another)

The tension any good story needs to move it along and keep the reader coming back for more comes from a balance of a tightly woven plot and the character relationships. Today, well written sex scenes are expected, dare I say mandatory, in lesbian novels of any genre. The trick is to keep it erotic without becoming tacky or pornographic, unless you want to throw those genres into the mix as well.

Another challenge is with archetypal/stereotypical roles that the reader again expects to find some shape or form within the story. Butch/Femme, androgynous BDSM, etc, and sub-groups within.

The writer better get all of this right because nothing ticks off a reader more than fudging something that is a fundamental part of how they define themselves. It’s a fine line between knowing what will sell and needing the characters to be real in order to drive the story along.

And that’s the central challenge to any writer. Because, lets be honest, who wants to be an unpublished great writer. Personally, I want it all.

And the solution to these tribble-lations and challenges? I know my craft and have an on-going commitment to all aspects of it. What’s left is quite simple. (in theory at least) Trust. I trust my instincts. Trust my luck. Trust whom and what I believe in. And I never, ever give up.

As I usually do with my blog, I end with a quote that catches my eye and seems appropriate for the topic. This is from Tallulah Bankhead; one of the early screen stars who truly deserved the title of Diva:

“My Daddy warned me about men and booze, but he didn’t say a word about women and cocaine."

Thanks for reading.

Lori Boleyn is a writer, raconteur, shaman, and cyclist and describes her Self thus...

... I am a wife and I have no husband. I am a grandmother and I have never given birth. I have lived in three countries and the sun has never set on any of them. I’ve reinvented myself many times and my name has stayed the same since I became an adult....
To date no-one has deciphered the riddle completely.

We're all perfectly normal ... I think ...

Pondering the Improbable

I’ve been pondering – do pixies ponder? Or do we wonder? – I’ve been speculating about the motives and manner of thinking that lead people to believe the improbable. Our new history book profiles a belief system that contains elements of the improbable. The movement fractured multiple times and by 1918 (we will end our history at 1887, a good cutoff date.) it was very complex. But some of the “improbable” stayed with most of the factions.

Many of them believed that Christ came, albeit invisibly, in 1874. They believed this solely on the basis of a complicated scheme of prophetic dates and went looking for proof of it in world events. Now this may make them sound like fruitcakes, and some of them were, but these were talented, even brilliant men – men who served in mainstream churches before they accepted this doctrine.

They differed doctrinally from the usually accepted view in other ways too, but stayed within the boarders of historical though sometimes heretical Christianity. It’s that one belief that was fanciful. Why were they willing to believe it? Against the weight of evidence? Against the weight of common sense? It was an important doctrine. They staked their fortunes and reputations on it. Preaching it detracted from some good, solid Biblical scholarship found within the larger movement.

And … why is it that this sort of thing is common? A hundred and forty years later people still poke fun at these groups for believing this. But among those who write snide polemics against the remnants of this belief system are those who think there is a vast Masonic conspiracy. (If my thirty-third degree Mason neighbor is involved in a world-wide conspiracy, it’s doomed to failure. Think about it … He’ll never stay sober long enough to carry his conspiracy to fruition.)

Taking the improbable seriously seems to be a human fault. Maybe just enough of what seems improbable proves to be real that it’s easy to believe the rest real too.

Which brings me to giants. … In most mythologies giants are GIGANTIC. Without discussing Hebrew words and such, the Biblical giant mythology (Okay, dear heart, I’m using that word of a collection of folk belief, not necessarily untrue. I’m not calling the Bible a work of myth. … Dang … I shoulda chosen another word, but since I’ve written this much already, I’ll keep it) … the Biblical giant mythology does not present them as improbably tall, mountainous creatures, but as mighty men, men of fame. A height advantage, when described, falls within what is possible for humans. I like this better than Celtic or Anglo-Saxon mythology.

It’s much easier to believe in a race of overly tall men than it is to believe in a mountain-high creature with a club. But, those who take giant myth seriously suspend good sense and go for the mountain-sized man. Why? (Yes, there ARE those who take giants seriously.)

Now, it’s my turn. Fairies and Pixies and such are real. … Maybe they’re not what you think, but they are real. My proof? All my daughters have wings. Prove me wrong …

The Dream - Gustav Eberlein

The Grass Skirt - About 1935

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Reading ...

Little Ones ...

Paris - 1902

Germany About 1905

Austria. Princess in Peasant Dress
Hand Colored - Probably 1897

Such treasures ...

If I remember correctly, I mentioned the back bits of our property somewhere else on my blog. The north property line runs partway up a cliff. It’s not really a cliff in the sense of a precipitous drop off. It’s a high ridge with a sixty degree or greater incline, but I think of it as a cliff. At the base is a stretch of scrub trees and bushes and wild flower and weeds and sticky things …. And tons of junk.

When this property came to us we spent days and days hauling off accumulated junk, mostly scrap metal of various sorts and old tires. We still find things that work their way out of the ground, but the pasturage is clear and green. Back in the trees is a different story. From about maybe umm 1890 to 1940 or so people dumped things off that cliff. There’s a mass of “stuff” hidden back there. An old road went through there too. You can see it still, though small trees grow in the road bed.

We started clearing the junk out early this morning. While there is no way we’ll finish that project this year, we’ll work on it for the next four weeks. Knobby Knees arranged for the metal salvage place to bring out a huge metal container. When I saw it, I was convinced it was too large, but we went a long way toward filling it today.

I got off work at four a.m. That’s such a lovely time of day here; quiet and peaceful; red sky in the east, birds just awakening, egrets fishing in the little stream; blue huron stretching their wings and thinking about fish. By five I was out at the gate waiting for Knobby Knees and his recruits and our girls. K.K. talked one of his work buddies into helping with a backhoe we borrowed from our neighbor. He had to promise him a steak and eggs breakfast. Guess who got stuck with the cooking. …

Great Blue Huron on the Columbia River

Anyway … breakfast was eaten, more coffee than any two sane men should drink was drunk and we booted and gloved up and went scavenging in the wilds. Such stuff we found. …

The backhoe tugged two half-buried car bodies out of the slope. Have you ever heard two engineers wax eloquent over rusted junk? … Not married to one then, are you? Now understand that these things are squished, caved in at the roof and no earthly good to anyone. K. Knees and friend get body # 1 out of the hillside with a little effort. Then, as men of that training are wont to do, they stood around and discussed the merits of 1938 Dodges. I wasn’t aware that a squished-nearly-flat Dodge of any year had merits, but I am apparently misinformed.

Eventually it and car body #2 end up in the huge container, though not without sighs of regret from Engineer 1 and 2 and wistful ideas about auto restoration. … An old metal springs from a mattress followed, as did endless odds and ends of things.

The girls carried canvas sacks full of bent, rusty nails and bolts that came out of a wooden barrel rolled over the cliff back who knows when. The hoops were still there, though almost none of the wood was left. Daughter number 2 went looking for agates. We always find some out there. Daughter five wanted to run the backhoe. … dream on, child, dream on.

I did my share, more or less. I mean, I did cook, right? My uncle has a metal detector, once top of the line, now old and low tech. I borrowed it. My contribution was an endless stream of small bits of junk. In the process I found a 1905 Indian Head Cent. It’s turned red and crusty from the soil. I found a pile of sea-green beer bottles marked AB in connected letters. I’ll give those to a friend who sells at a flea market. I saved a nice one for me. Dau. # 3 found a 1925 dime. It’s black from the soil and we can barely see the date.

An old fence line is back there too. Most of the original barbed wire is gone, though rusted piles of it sit next to some of the old fence posts. There are maybe four kinds of wire. I understand people collect it, but this is so rusty it’s not worth anyone’s attention except that of the metal salvage place. … If you’re a barbed wire aficionado, you might like to know that some of it was two strand, some three strand, and there were two kinds of wire poke the cow things … they must have a name, I just don’t know it … some with two barbs and some with four. It all went into the container.

We yanked about a third of the old fence posts too. Those will go into the fire place. They’re too old to be treated wood, so they’re safe to burn. It’s not the best fire wood, but it’s free.

I left everyone out there at about 8:45 with food in the frig, snacks on the table and dirt on their faces.

Oh … My bit of metal find thing I found and don’t really know what it is thing … I found an iron spike bent to “u” shape. It’s very long, probably a foot and a half if straight. K. Knees and his friend both say it’s hand forged. Being engineers they had to analyze it in detail. We (they) talked about how the head was formed and why, the flattening to one side, the marks on the flat side, and other such things. And ... here ... all I wanted to know was, “Is it old? What was it used for?”

The answers were, “yes” and “we don’t have a clue.”

I put it in my box of odd things found. I keep it in the barn. A hay loft hook, a trigger guard from some sort of pistol, bunches of square nails and some old spoons have all found a place in the box. Don’t ask me why I keep this stuff. I don’t know for sure.

Two nice things from a monetary view point were a pile of old lead pipes. We’ll get about eighty cents a pound for the lead. I don’t know how many pounds of pipe we recovered. They were still digging it out when I left. We also turned up a spool of copper wire. This is worth more. It’s not a large spool but heavy. It’s all wrapped up in cloth insulation like you sometimes see on antique lamps, but it’s heaver gage wire than lamp wire. This is good. Anything that makes money is good. The lead and copper sells by the pound. The scrap iron by the ton. They’ll weigh the container when we’re done. Because it’s mixed, we get paid at a lower rate than if it were some sort of specific content. I don’t really care to understand all of that … mostly because K.K. does and saves my mind from being fried by the details.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On the table ... about 1947

No Details. A Mystery Photo

Living dictionary ...

Me: [reading out loud to husband] … They were all idolaters, every last one, and …

Dau No. 4: They all had sex!?

Me: [Blank stare followed by short pause] Umm … I don’t know. I imagine they all did … sooner or later … but the word is “idolaters” … not adulterers.

Dau: There’s a difference?

Me: Yes. One worships idols. …

Dau: Oh! I get it!

"She is Dreaming"

Writing, Bad Dreams, and Cranky Disposition

I’ve been writing furiously for three days. What started as one chapter is now two, and about to become three as the subject expands. I’ve sent bits off to my writing partner and he’s sent me his bits. I put them together last night and will edit out the rough spots today.

There are areas that need more research. And there are areas for which I wish I had more material. The last names of two men, a Mr. Graves and a Mr. Boyd, pop up. There are slight hints to identity. Graves was a commercial traveler and railroad preacher. Boyd was a temperance worker. They aren’t key players, so I’ve contented myself with a basic search for them. It produced not firm results. Serendipity sometimes turns up more.

I’m especially happy with what has to be one of the most boring bits of the new book, a financial analysis of a tract society’s finances in the 1880’s. That organization still exists, but they are notorious for not sharing documentation. My writing partner contacted one of those in charge of their archive via email and received no response – not even a polite ‘no.’ He’s disappointed. I’m not. I never expected them to reply.

Though I should have liked to have the ledger pages because of the names recorded on them, I have the financial data. It doesn’t tell as detailed a story, but it’s detailed enough to draw some conclusions. I will delete an already written footnote as no longer accurate. It’s critical of two other writers. They are wrong, but not so wrong as we once thought them. I’ll at least modify the note.

Bruce will make one more attempt to pry the information out of the archive in question. He has endless respect for those who run that institution, and I suppose that breeds hope.

As busy as I’ve been with this, the last four days have been bad ones. I sleep fitfully, and I’m chronically tired. I’m a bit over medicated with pain pills. I couldn’t even work the keys on my keyboard without them today.

I woke up in the middle of a seizure two days ago. I heard myself screaming, “Help me! Help me!” That was all in my head. When one has a seizure the most that comes out, no matter how loudly one tries to shout, is a moan. A long period of malaise follows the seizures – that and bad dreams.

I’m no fan of Napoleon’s Book of Dreams and I have my doubts about Freud’s torturous ‘Wish Fulfillment” theory. Anyway, none of my dreams are fully developed. They’re just snippets of things. This morning it was two sentences spoken to my dead mother: “Don’t die mommy. I want to die first.” Much I never speak of is tied up in those words. They’ve plagued me all day.

When I feel bad I find myself less tolerant of those long-dead people I write about. At least I can take out my pain on dead people in first draft. I go back and edit out the nasty remarks later, though we’ve elected to keep a few of them. They’re to the point.
It’s usually enough to say what someone did and to let them say in their own words, if they’ve been preserved, why they did it. Readers can draw their own conclusions.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Because every married pixie needs pink shoes at least once in her life ...

From Harry ...

who just made me cry ...

Let me introduce myself. I am Harry Saxondale (my Second Life name) and I am an aspiring author with no manuscripts. More importantly I am a fan and friend of Rachael de Vienne, aka Sha'el, princess of the house of Sha, the pixie warrior.

Before I knew Sha'el, I met Talatha, the pixie who inhabits Second Life. In virtual worlds you meet many people who have interesting avatars. Tal was (and is) interesting. She is always in character with lovely little dresses and wings for all occasions. She was fun to talk to and highly opinionated.

One day I heard her say something about the book she had written. I asked and she told me about it and directed me to her blog. I was hooked. When I purchased my copy of PIxie Warrior, I read it straight through. What amazed me more than the wonderful story is that Sha'el asked me for feedback and comments.

At first I was hesitant. After all the only things I have written for publication were educational projects and I was only one of a large team of people doing the writing. I've never published anything on my own.

She was insistent and welcomed my comments. Since then we have talked from time to time about everything from religion and art to history and, of course, the differences between pixies and fairies.

In all this time Sha'el has grown to be a dear friend and I am a devoted, if not demented, fan. She has encouraged me to write my own stories and I am working on one now. At the same time I keep talking to her when she is feeling ill. It hard to deal with constant pain like she does. It amazes me how much she does, raising a family, working at night, searching the web for resource materials, reading tons of old, sometimes moldy, documents, and writing, constantly writing.

For anyone who is just becoming acquainted with my dear friend, you will truly enjoy reading this lady's prose. She is wholesome and honest, loving and gentle. I love her like a daughter. I'll end with a quote that I just found that says it better than I can.

“Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.” ~Joseph Addison (1672-1719)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More ...


Major stuff ...

I know it doesn't sound like much, but I wrote eight paragraphs today. Those were for the history book, not for Pixie2. I'm pleased with just eight paragraphs. They're an analysis of Fredrick W. Grant's refutation of a small book entitled Food for Thinking Christians. To write my paltry paragraphs I had to read through pages and pages of religious, side-stepping twaddle.

My apologies to all the fans of F. W. Grant who are still out there. The man wasn't a concise and cogent logician. He just wasn't. Anyway, I'm done. That bit is finished. Yipee!

In many respects the book he was opposing is also flawed. It's as hard, harder in some places, to digest as was Grant's effort. My loving God and little rabbits! Did our ancestors have to use so many words to say so little?!

Doesn't help that I have a roaring headache, now, does it? But I did good work, I think. I haven't picked on Grant except to point out a logic flaw. Historically the material is wonderful. No one's published it since the 1880's, especially with any sort of anaysis. I've emailed the paragraphs to my writing partner, and he'll tinker with them. We do that. We leave no comma untouched ... no pout un-pouted, no pun unsaid, no cookie uneaten!

Fairies by Dorothy Wheeler

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The little cabin in the big woods ....

Sha'el, the main character in Pixie Warrior, is hauled off to a little cabin in the big woods by her parents. They live there for a major part of the story. This is the original inspiration for the cabin. Photo c. 1918.

Unmentionables ...

I’m not very productive today. I hurt too much to concentrate; so I’m still fussing with the disorder on my desk and work table. I can see most of my desk top, and a corner of my work table. Hopefully by the end of the day I’ll have this mass of paper tamed and usable.

My writing partner received an interesting email. One of his friends sent him the personal email of the head of a rather large archive. They’re traditionally reluctant to share things. Hopefully this rear-entrance contact will circumvent some of that. We both find some of these institutional libraries frustrating. Their policies seem to prevent research rather than to foster it.

When I’m not well, my brain fogs up. The score this week: Three books mislaid. One found, two still missing. There here somewhere, probably right in front of me on a book shelf. I just can’t see them. I panic when that happens, though I know that the books are right here – somewhere.

Some months ago I found five volumes of The Universal Anthology. This was a thirty-three volume set published back in 1899. It came in two bindings, cloth and half-leather. The volumes I found were the red half-leather. This was a collection of the “best” literature, “ancient, medieval and modern.” Sets like these were bought by people who wanted to appear literate, but who seldom read the books.

The partial set I found belonged to Thomas M. West. There are too many with the same name to tell exactly who he was, but I can tell you what he wasn’t. He wasn’t a reader of these books. Oh, they’re worn, the leather is scuffed, has minor tears, but he never read them. The pages were never separated. I read most of volume one during my down time at work. (Between 2 am and about 5 am there is almost nothing to do.) I kept my handy dandy pocket knife open and slit open the un-separated pages as I read. It saddens me that these books sat somewhere for 100 years and no one bothered to read them.

The editor’s view of what was “the best” wouldn’t meet today’s tastes, but there is interesting stuff in volume one. I liked the interplay of ancient material and modern. The book is organized by topic. Assyrian myth is followed by what was then modern poetry on similar subjects. I enjoyed large parts of it. I’ll read the next volume in a week or so.

I’ve been flitting between this Blog post and attacking disorder. I type a paragraph and return to the fray! I can now see the top of my work table. Poor ratty thing! I was new sometime in the 1850’s. It’s not so new now. But I can see the top.

Remind me to buy notebook dividers. I need a bunch.
Remember in a pervious post I mentioned my two moldy books? They're both cured. It took longer than I expected; apprently the infection was quite bad. But they now smell as books should and have found their place on the appropriate bookshelf.

I can now report that everyone’s undies are suitably washed and folded. … When you blog about the wash, it’s time to close the post. Still mundane things can be interesting. See the Arthur Rackham illustration above.

Westwood, Lassen County, California

Two winter views, both about 1918-19, the year in which Pixie Warrior is set. You really should read it. It'd make me happy and you'd like it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hobbs: Leviathan ... two things

I can't tell if he believed in fairies or not. He says not, but his words say, "yes."

He couldn't spell worth beans. [yes, yes, I know words were spelled differently way back when, but I wanted to say that anyway.

The Fairies in what Nation soever they converse, have but one Universall King, which some Poets of ours call King Oberon ; but the Scripture calls Beelzebub, Prince of Damons. The Ecclesiastiques likewise, in whose Dominions soever they be found, acknowledge but one Universall King, the Pope.

The Ecclesiastiques are Spirituall men, and Ghostly Fathers. The Fairies are Spirits, and Ghosts. Fairies and Ghosts inhabite Darknesse, Solitudes, and Graves. The Ecclesiastiques walke in Obscurity of Doctrine, in Monasteries, Churches, and Church-yards.

The Ecclesiastiques have their Cathedrall Churches ; which, in what Towne soever they be erected, by vertue of Holy Water, and certain Charmes called Exorcismes, have the power to make those Townes, Cities, that is to say, Seats of Empire. The Fairies also have their enchanted Castles, and certain Gigantique Ghosts, that domineer over the Regions round about them.

The Fairies are not to be seized on; and brought to answer for the hurt they do. So also the Ecclesiastiques vanish away from the Tribunals of Civill Justice.

The Ecclesiastiques take from young men, the use of Reason, by certain Charms compounded of Metaphysiques, and Miracles, and Traditions, and Abused Scripture, whereby they are good for nothing else, but to execute what they command them. The Fairies likewise are said to take young Children out of their Cradles, and to change them into Naturall Fools, which Common people do therefore call Elves, and are apt to mischief.

In what Shop, or Operatory the Fairies make their Enchantment, the old Wives have not determined. But the Operatories of the Clergy, are well enough known to be the Universities, that received their Discipline from Authority Pontificiall. [387]

When the Fairies are displeased with any body, they are said to send their Elves, to pinch them. The Ecclesiastiques, when they are displeased with any Civill State, make also their Elves, that is, Superstitious, Enchanted Subjects, to pinch their Princes, by preaching Sedition ; or one Prince enchanted with promises, to pinch another.

The Fairies marry not; but there be amongst them Incubi, that have copulation with flesh and bloud. The Priests also marry not.

The Ecclesiastiques take the Cream of the Land, by Donations of ignorant men, that stand in aw of them, and by Tythes: So also it is in the Fable of Fairies, that they enter into the Dairies, and Feast upon the Cream, which they skim from the Milk.

What kind of Money is currant in the Kingdome of Fairies, is not recorded in the Story. But the Ecclesiastiques in their Receipts accept of the same Money that we doe; though when they are to make any Payment, it is in Canonizations, Indulgences, and Masses.

To this, and such like resemblances between the Papacy, and the Kingdome of Fairies, may be added this, that as the Fairies have no existence, but in the Fancies of ignorant people, rising from the Traditions of old Wives, or old Poets : so the Spirituall Power of the Pope (without the bounds of his own Civill Dominion) consisteth onely in the Fear that Seduced people stand in, of their Excommunications; upon hearing of false Miracles, false Traditions, and false Interpretations of the Scripture.

compulsively orderly or congenitally disorganized ...

Phew … I’m taking a break.

Historical research is a messy business. Prolly knew that, didn’t you. But, I’m saying it again. This is especially true of original research. You accumulate all these photocopies. They pile up on your desk, on a work table, and they lose their order. You can’t find anything anymore. Time to organize … or reorganize … or re-reorganize.

I’ve reached my disorder limit. I’ve been punching holes in papers, organizing alphabetically by the names of those mentioned on them, and filing them in three ring binders. Original material gets stuffed (carefully) onto archival sleeves. This is tedious. I’m up to nearly forty binders full of copies, original documents, odd bits of ephemera and stuff. I used to keep this junk in file cabinets, but the binders work better for me.

I’ve posted this photo before. It’s a bit dated now, but essentially the same. You can see some of the three ring binders on the top shelf in the back bookcase.

I can’t decide if I’m compulsively orderly or congenitally disorganized.


"Blissful Moments" - Tarkay

As badly as I felt yesterday, I called Shirley and got her to take me junk store shopping. It was a worth-while trip. Knobby Knees and I have been discussing redecorating the living room. He’s not fond of changes. I am always fiddling at something. He closes his eyes and pretends he doesn’t see it. I make him pork chops. All is well.

The paintings and prints on the living room wall lean heavily toward beach scenes. I want to change that. We have artwork in storage, most of it inherited from grandparents. I’ve sorted through that, and while I’ve hung a few things in the family room, I haven’t found anything I want in the living room. So … yesterday I prowled the pictures in my favorite Goodwill store. I found one. I paid more than I’d usually pay. It was $18.50.

It’s a Seriolithograph of “Blissful Moments” by Itzchak Tarkay. It’s numbered and signed on the stone, though not hand signed. These are supposed to be worth about six hundred fifty dollars. I think a realistic market price is fifty dollars or less. But I like the picture, and it’s now mine.

It’s very large, and I know just the place for it. I have a late Victorian era side-board against the south wall. This belonged first to my great-great grandmother. I think I’m going to replace the picture that hangs above it with the Tarkay lithograph.

I dunno for sure. I’m still thinking about it.

I found two books. I bought a ratty book club edition of Caleb Carr’s The Alienist. I read that a few years ago and liked it. I want to read it again. I also found a really nice copy of Neil Bell’s Strange Melody. I’m not sure anyone reads Neil Bell anymore. He was more popular in the 1930’s. But I read pre-1940 fiction, good and bad. It gives me a feel for the era, how people spoke, thought, and acted – at least in fiction. This isn’t a rare book, but this copy is in excellent condition. The book is as new, though the dust jacket has some edge wear.

Last thing I bought was a small print in its original frame. It’s called “Melody of Love” and was printed by Morris & Bendien. I can’t read the artist’s signature. There is a similarly titled print by Louis Jambor, but this is not it. I don’t think it’s worth much, but I like it. For $2.50 it was a nice find. I’m going to take down a 17th Century village scene that’s in the hallway and replace it with this.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sad things ...

Marie Gabrielle Mathilde Isabelle Therese Antoinette Sabine Herzogin zu Bayern,
fist wife of Rupprecht Maria Luitpold Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Bavaria.
A distant cousin.
With her son, Luitpold Maximilian Ludwig Karl von Bayern.
Luitpold was born in 1901 and died in 1914 of Polio. A daughter born the next year died of diptheria before her first birthday, and a son born in 1909 died also in childhood of diabetes. Only one child lived to adulthood.

But would you date one?

Galloping off into Bliss?

Just like a man! A naked woman dancing in front of him and another trying to get his attention, but he's on a Cell Phone!

So … just suppose all the paranormal and mythical creatures you ever heard of really existed. Suspend your belief system, what ever it is. … Which of them would you date?

Knobby Knees and I had this discussion over coffee and chocolate cheese cake. His short list is:

1. Maybe a ghost, maybe not. Are there “Hot” ghosts?
2. A nymph. (Me: Of course you would would. He: I married a pixie, didn't I?)
3. A centaur filly if she’s really cute and has an alluring tail. (They’d gallop off into bliss. Silly man.)

Nothing that sheds or molts.

So, what’s your list?

Wish I Could ...

I wish I could afford this, even though the asking price is umm abitious. ... There's lovely material in this collection. .... take a look:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Puzzling over the Past

Puzzling over the past is both fun and frustrating. I’ve spend the day reading articles published in a small circulation 19th Century religious magazine. I know very little about it, but people I’m researching wrote for it.

The May 1893 issue contains an article by its editor, a man named William Lee Stroud. It’s a bit of commentary on chapter eight of Romans, but it’s really meant to smack Universalist Adventists and Zion’s Watch Tower adherents. Because it lacks specifics, it’s hard to follow Mr. Stroud’s points. Yet, he says important things – things I cannot dismiss – but I cannot find a place for them because they’re disconnected from the original circumstances. [That was a confusing sentence, wasn’t it?]

His words no longer connect to the circumstance that caused him to write. As a result, I can’t follow all his points. His arguments against Universalism seem to be directed against a preacher in Michigan. These don’t have a place in my research, though they are interesting. It’s just six short paragraphs that concern me, and, frankly, I’m not sure, beyond his not liking what he read in someone else’s book exactly, what he meant to say.

I’ll file this with similar material and wait for something more connective to show up. It usually does. I know these people did not write for posterity but for the immediate need. Sometimes I wish they’d been a bit clearer in their statements.

It’s hard to remain impartial. I’m frankly not impartial. I like some of these people (dead though they are) and some are just repulsive. Stroud was smart, educated, and erudite. He also comes across as commonly haughty, over confident in his own ability, and rude. None of that opinion will make it into my writing unless there is some pressing need for it. If I use this material at all, I’ll just report it as written. But one’s personality attaches to what they write even after a hundred or so years.

Now I also found some articles by another preacher, Hugh B. Rice. Rice started life as a Disciples minister, became briefly a Barbourite, showed some interest in Zion’s Watch Tower, and then went off on his own. He ended life back in the Disciples of Christ. But he maintained his interest in Millennialism and related topics until his death. The two articles I found are more connected … and more focused.

All in all I did good work today, even if I’m left confused by Mr. Stroud.

In the Forest - German Printed Silhouette